John McIntire Replaced The Stars Of Two Different TV Westerns After Their Untimely Deaths
John McIntire was a talented actor who made notable contributions to the television Western genre. He indeed stepped into prominent roles on two popular TV Western series, “Wagon Train” and “The Virginian,” following the untimely deaths of their original stars.
In “Wagon Train,” McIntire joined the cast during the show’s fifth season in 1961. He replaced actor Ward Bond, who had played the lead role of Major Seth Adams, the trail master of the wagon train. Unfortunately, Bond passed away suddenly in 1960, leading to the need for a new actor to fill his shoes. McIntire assumed the character of Christopher “Chris” Hale, who took over as the trail master and guided the wagon train on its journeys. McIntire brought his own gravitas and strong screen presence to the role, seamlessly integrating into the ensemble cast.
Similarly, on “The Virginian,” John McIntire stepped in to replace actor Lee J. Cobb, who had portrayed the ranch owner and foreman, Judge Henry Garth. Cobb left the series after the fourth season, and McIntire took over the role in 1967 for the show’s fifth season. McIntire’s character, Clay Grainger, became the new owner of Shiloh Ranch, taking charge alongside the show’s lead character, the Virginian, played by James Drury. McIntire’s portrayal of Clay Grainger allowed the series to continue successfully, and he brought his own depth and authority to the character.
In both instances, John McIntire faced the challenge of joining established series and filling the void left by beloved actors. However, his talent and versatility enabled him to seamlessly transition into these roles and bring his own unique interpretation to the characters. McIntire’s portrayal of Chris Hale on “Wagon Train” and Clay Grainger on “The Virginian” helped maintain the popularity and longevity of both shows, ensuring that they remained beloved by Western television audiences.
John McIntire’s contributions to the Western genre extended beyond these two roles, as he had a prolific career in film and television, appearing in numerous Western-themed projects. His performances showcased his talent for playing strong, authoritative characters and further solidified his status as a respected figure in the Western television landscape.